By HENRY C. JACKSON
WASHINGTON -- The House Ethics Committee said Wednesday it will continue an investigation of Illinois Republican Rep. Aaron Schock over allegations he solicited donations of more than $5,000 per donor to a super political action committee.
The case has been referred to the House committee by the Office of Congressional Ethics, a separate, outside ethics office. The House committee announced its decision while releasing OCE's report on both cases.
In a statement, the ethics committee said merely "conducting further review ... does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the committee." The committee also said it would refrain from further comment pending completion of initial reviews.
Schock, who represents Quincy and has been linked to a possible gubernatorial bid in 2014, has said he expects to be exonerated.
Schock's case involves an allegation he asked House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., to contribute $25,000 from his leadership PAC to a super PAC that backed Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., in a House primary against Rep. Don Manzullo. Kinzinger won the March 2012 primary. Redistricting following the 2010 census put the two congressmen in the same and the primary.
According to the OCE report, the Super PAC backing Kinzinger, the Campaign for Primary Accountability, received a minimum of $115,000 that came from "efforts of Rep. Schock and his campaign committee."
The report says that Cantor told investigators that Schock had asked him if he would give the $25,000 donation to back Kinzinger. Cantor said he then gave money from his committee to the super PAC backing Kinziger in the primary.
Cantor's office would not comment on the investigation, but said he fully cooperated the OCE report as a witness.
A spokesman for Schock, Steve Dutton, said the congressman had done nothing wrong and believes the committee will vindicate him.
"As our counsel's submissions to OCE and the Ethics Committee make clear, the complaint in this case is entirely without merit," Dutton said. "We remain firmly convinced that Congressman Schock will be exonerated when the Ethics Committee examines the complaint and in due course resolves this matter."
It's a violation of federal law and House rules and standards of conduct for a member of Congress to solicit donations exceeding $5,000 per donor for a super political action committee.